L-bird Squadron at Cannon Field

Alamo Liaison Squadron maintains a complete collection of the light WWII liaison aircraft known as L-birds, including Taylorcraft L-2, Aeronca L-3, Piper L-4, Stinson L-5, and Interstate L-6 flying examples. While some are now owned by ALS, others belong to (or have in the past) individual squadron members who base their aircraft at the field. A number of these aircraft, previously restored or operating at Cannon Field, now reside in museums elsewhere and with private curators.

Representatives, past and present, of the ALS fleet:

  • 1941 Stinson L-1F Vigilant (41-18915, N1ZS) first restored at Cannon Field, now resides at Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage, Alaska
  • 1943 Taylorcraft L-2M Grasshopper (DCO-65, cn 5485) Whispering Hope owned by ALS*
  • 1943 Taylorcraft L-2A Grasshopper (DCO-65, cn 4915) owned by ALS*, recognized member Baylor Randle
  • 1953 Taylorcraft L-2C Grasshopper (DC-65, cn 6238) privately owned, Bill Pitman, prev member Wally Anderson
  • 1943 Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper (DCO-65, cn 5963, 326651) Baby Doll restored at Cannon Field c. 1984
  • 1943 Taylorcraft L-2M Grasshopper (DCO-65, cn 5922) prev owned by ALS (N57538 Garry Holcomb, Point, Texas)
  • 1943 Taylorcraft L-2M Grasshopper (DCO-65, cn 5635, 326323) Ruptured Duck prev members Larry Carr & Tommie Thompson (N58036 Isaac Lang, Cumming, Georgia)
  • 1943 Taylorcraft L-2M Grasshopper (DCO-65, cn 5542) prev at Hondo, Texas c. 1989 (N46347 Chester Bruington, San Antonio, Texas)
  • 1941 Taylorcraft L-2C Grasshopper (DC-65, cn 4006) prev at Cannon Field c. 1998 (N48847 Sam Archer, Independence, Oregon)
  • 1940 Taylorcraft L-2F Grasshopper (BL-65, cn 1621) prev at Cannon Field c. 1998 (N24086 AJ Aviation, Douglas, Nebraska)
  • 1942 Aeronca L-3B Defender (O-58B-2082) owned by ALS*
  • 1943 Aeronca L-3C Defender (O-58B-8553, 31925) Fire! prev at Cannon Field (N57714 Jeffrey Reynolds, Flower Mound, Texas)
  • 1942 Aeronca L-3B Defender (O-58B, 236152) Strafin prev member Henry Whitmore (N52169 Lee Montgomery, Corsicana, Texas)
  • 1941 Aeronca L-3E Defender (65-TAC, 42-1441, N36687) Looking Glass prev at Cannon Field, now resides at American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum in Dallas, Texas
  • 1940 Aeronca L-3J Defender (65-TC, sn 2640T) U.S. Army prev at Cannon Field 1996 (N29212)
  • 1935 Aeronca C-3 (sn 526, N14640) restored at Cannon Field in 1984, now resides at Shannon Air Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • 1940 Piper L-4 Grasshopper (J3C-65, 00-4644) Just The Bear Necessities privately owned, Gene Jensen
  • 1945 Piper L-4 Grasshopper (J3C-65, 14053) WK prev member Wesley Kyle c. 1984 (N33576 Joel Hackett, Easton, Maryland)
  • 2008 L-4 replica (Legend AL11) Taylor Cub privately owned, Mike Taylor
  • 2006 L-4 replica (Legend AL3) Combat Cub prev at Cannon Field 2006–2014, recognized member Alton Kenne (N532AK John Mitchell, Illinois)
  • 1941 Piper L-4F / L-4G / AE-1 Cub Cruiser (J-5A, sn 5770) privately owned, Brian McEnery
  • 1939 Piper J3C-65 (sn 3150) Flitfire Texas prev owned by ALS 1983–2022 (N23413 Richard Brown, Colonial Heights, Virginia)
  • 1944 Stinson L-5C Sentinel (44-17334) Burma Babe, air ambulance version, owned by ALS*, recognized member Fabian Fonseca
  • 1944 Stinson L-5C Sentinel (44-17397) Delfina prev owned by ALS (N45TX Bill Lux, Spokane, Washington)
  • 1945 Stinson L-5 (44-17280) guest at ALS April 2015 picnic (N178 exported to Brazil in 2018)
  • 1942 Stinson L-5 Sentinel (sn 1428, 298177) prev restored at Cannon Field c. 1984 (N6438C, England, United Kingdom)
  • 1942 Interstate L-6/L-8 Cadet (S-1A, sn 255) owned by ALS*, recognized member Stan Pennington
  • 1943 Interstate L-6 (S-1B1, sn 168) restored at Cannon Field c. 1984
  • 1941 Universal L-7 / Monocoupe 90AF (only 20 built, type did not participate in Louisiana Maneuvers)
  • 1947 Luscombe XT8E, a post-WWII tandem variant of the all-metal Model 8 proposed as a replacement for the L-4H.

Fun facts

Liaison planes are painted completely olive drab (green) instead of having their undersides painted light blue. That they typically fly so low on missions, they are better camouflaged among the trees and hills in the all-drab coat. –America’s Fighting Planes in Action, Reed Kinert

The L-1 thru L-6 were the only Liaison aircraft to also carry the “O” moniker for Observation (in their original military enlistment).

The aircraft of Alamo Liaison Squadron are flown by veteran pilots who have mastered the art of flying a “taildragger,” aircraft so named for their single rear wheel, a.k.a. conventional landing gear. During the year, squadron pilots perform flyovers for local events such as the Poteet Strawberry Festival parade, Floresville Peanut Festival, Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies to name a few.

Squadron members fly the ALS fleet of liaison aircraft and work on their restoration and maintenance. Over the years, dozens of aircraft have come back to life at the hands of skilled squadron members. The art of “tube-and-fabric” aircraft construction, once a vanishing talent, is alive and well today at Cannon Field.

*Your tax deductible donation will help to support the preservation of these aircraft.

More on L-birds in the EAA video below…